(January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968) On April 16, 1963, Dr. wrote this letter from the Birmingham jail, where he was imprisoned for leading nonviolent demonstrations against segregation, The letter was written long-hand, drawing on his extensive knowledge of philosophy and theology. King, who was born in 1929, did his undergraduate work at Morehouse College.He then won a fellowship to Boston University for his Ph. While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas.And we believe this kind of facing of issues can best be accomplished by citizens of our own metropolitan area, white and Negro, meeting with their knowledge and experience of the local situation.
Responsible citizens have undertaken to work on various problems which cause racial friction and unrest.
In Birmingham, recent public events have given indication that we all have opportunity for a new constructive and realistic approach to racial problems.
King was arrested and taken to jail in Birmingham, AL in 1963 before he wrote the letter.
At the time, Birmingham, AL was a difficult place for blacks to live since everything was segregated. King was known for protesting in different parts of the south, and a judge ruled he was not allowed to protest in the Birmingham area. The events of unrest in the black community and the civil rights of black Americans inspired King to write the letter.
I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham since you have been influenced by the argument of "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every Southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
We have some eighty-five affiliate organizations all across the South, one being the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
The letter would grow to be an important part of American history.
It was his response to a public statement of concern issued by eight white religious leaders of the South. He attended the integrated Cozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of six black students and the president of his class. King taught a philosophy class at Morehouse College; you can view his Philosophy Syllabus here (as well as his final exam).
In the letter, King defended people rights to be able to protest peacefully when laws seem unjustified.
He felt people have a responsibility to speak up and be heard when regulations and rules are unfair.